Monday, February 26, 2018

Do You Have the Write Stuff?

Principal ponderings...
Did you know that March is coming at the end of the week?!  We are more than halfway done with the school year, and it always feels like time speeds up during this part of the school year.  I am excited that March is going to be all about literacy at Florence Roche.  We begin the month with National Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday.  We will have a Seuss-inspired spirit day.  On March 8, we will have Community Reader Day.  The student council is helping me plan a read-a-thon where we will donate money to an organization related to literacy and books for kids.  We are also planning a family literacy night, and then at the end of the month we will have the Scholastic Book Fair here!

March also means it's time for the Slice of Life Challenge.  You may remember that I wrote about this last year.  This is a challenge that I completed last year, and I plan on tackling it again this year.  The goal is to write a slice of life story every day during the month of March.  That's 31 little snippets of your life.  I surprised myself last year and wrote everyday.  I also provided comments and feedback to other people's posts.  During the break, I went back and read every post I wrote last March.  I am so glad that I have those stories written down and enjoyed reading and remembering.

So what do you say?  Do you have the 'write' stuff?  Will you make a commitment to write every day during the month of March?  You can create a blog to do your writing on or you can simply do it for yourself and write in a journal.  Read more about the challenge here:

We all want to be the best teachers we can be for our students.  And to be a good writing teacher, you need to actually write.  You need to practice writing.  You need to write so that you have writing to share with your students.  You need to write so you can reflect on your teaching or simply reflect on life like I did in a lot of my posts last year.  You need to write so that you can get your thoughts out, so that you can have written memories to go back to and reread and remember.  I know as educators, we all have a lot to say, considering all that has happened in our country over the past few weeks.  This is the perfect time to share your voices, share your opinions through your writing.  Write so that others can read and agree or write just for yourself so that you can make sense of your thoughts.  No matter the reason, just write.

Here's the link to the blog where I will post my daily writing.  And if you want to read what I wrote last year, feel free:

This blog post was just posted yesterday, and I felt it was perfect to share with you as we talk about writing and the power of our words:

Who is ready to take the challenge with me and write through the month of March?

Currently reading:
I had fun doing lots of reading over the break and even managed a visit to my favorite bookstore.  I have been having fun reading this new picture book at bedtime:
This is a cute story about a little dog named Emerson who tries very hard to control his bark.  My Emerson loves reading about a doggie who shares her name!  I also enjoyed reading this YA book about a girl loses her mother to cancer and then spends a summer in Florence, Italy with someone who may or may not be her father.  
I also had an Amazon box arrive at my house this know what that means!  More books!  Here's a new professional development book that I started reading.  I am in a Voxer book study, talking about this book with educators from across the country. 

Events this week:
Monday - Welcome back!
Tuesday - Liz attending district Crisis Team Meeting @ Prescott 1:00
Wednesday - Grade 1 chorus practice @ 2:20, Chucky Cheese Night, PTA fundraiser from 3:00-8:00
Thursday - Kindergarten Orientation Night @ 6:30
Friday - National Read Across America Day and Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!  Spirit Day - wear anything Seuss related!  Half day, 12:15 dismissal, no lunch served

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Loved seeing staff come together to work on our book puzzle!  I will be gluing this one together and framing it.  Thanks to all who helped, and a big thank you to Deb R. for making a new piece to replace the missing piece. 
  • I enjoyed stopping in and listening to this 3rd grade class as they did a reader's theater version of a really great non fiction picture book.  Jill...I can't remember the name of the book!  I need to add it to my library!  
  • The 2nd grade concert was awesome!  Thanks to the 4th graders who also performed.  And of course, Mr. Wiesner...once again, another enjoyable concert! 
  • Saw some great informative writing displayed in the 3rd grade hallway. 
  • Did anyone get a chance to hang out in the gym before break? I certainly did!  Wow, Ms. Kinneen...the Olympic themed activities you set up were amazing.  I tried my hand at the FloRo biathlon, scooter skiing, and curling! I think I need to practice more before I can be a medal contender. 
  • Loved seeing the 1st and kindergarten voting for favorite picture books.  Be on the lookout...we might just be doing a March Madness book version in the front lobby this month! 
  • Thank you Melissa for helping us have fun with feedback and dessert tasting!

Check it out:
In case you missed this at our staff meeting before the break, here is a video of our students sharing what they love about their teachers and their classrooms.  Thank you Audra for helping with this little project!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Feel the Love

Principal ponderings...

Since it's the week of Valentine's Day, it makes sense to be feeling the love at Flo Ro this week.  There are many things that I love about our school.  Let me share the top 5 things that popped into my head...

1. I love that when I walk into a classroom I often see students collaborating with each other.  That collaboration can take different forms.  Sometimes it's table groups working together to solve a problem.  Sometimes it's small groups working on an informational unit project.  Sometimes it's partners working on writing and recording a book buzz with iPads.  I love to see students connecting and learning with each other.

2. I love that I see students help each other, both in the classroom and out of the classroom.  Students will volunteer to walk with a friend to the nurse after a fall on the playground.  Students will volunteer to explain an assignment to someone who was out of the room.  Students will help each other carry library books back to the library.  I love seeing students show that they care about about each other.

3. I love that our staff support each other.  We have had so many people battling the flu, colds, sickness, etc.  And staff have jumped in to support, whether that means taking on a different duty, covering a class, bringing a co-worker a coffee or any number of other kind gestures.  I love that FloRo staff truly cares about all of the members of our school family and finds ways to support everyone.

4. I love that when I walk into a classroom I often see teachers presenting the curriculum to students through multiple means.  One group might be practicing a math concept using manipulatives.  Another group might be working directly with the teacher.  Another group might be independently exploring a topic on a Chromebook and preparing a presentation about the topic.  I love seeing teachers get creative with how to present the curriculum and as a result, seeing all students benefit from creative teaching.

5. I love that when I walk into a classroom students are excited to share their learning with me.  They are proud of what they are doing, and they are often bursting with excitement about a book they just read or an opinion piece they just wrote.  They light up when you ask them to explain their thinking.  It's like I can almost see their brains growing!  I love that our students truly love school.

Now it's your turn to feel the love for FloRo.  What do you love about our school?  What do you love about your job?  What do you love about our students?  What do you love about your classroom?  What do you love about how you teach?  What do you love about how your students learn?  Take some time this week to reflect on these questions.  Write down your answers or tell someone how you feel.

Feel the love this week FloRo!

Currently reading:
Apparently it is "I love to read" Month.  How did I not know this?!  Probably because every month is I love to read month for me!  With Valentine's Day coming up, I reread one of my favorite Valentine read alouds...Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch.  Mrs. West was looking for a good Valentine book, so I searched my library at home and found this one.  After an anonymous Valentine is delivered to Mr. Hatch, his life is completely changed.  It's a heart-warming story for this week!
I finished The Hate U Give this weekend, such a timely, tough, powerful read.  Definitely not for our elementary students, but you might want to read it for yourself.  And I picked up a professional development book that I began to look at over the summer but abandoned.  Lately, I feel like I need this book right now so I am diving back into it: Escaping the School Leader's Dunk Tank: How to Prevail When Others Want to See You Drown.

Events this week:
Monday - Grade 2 chorus rehearsal 1:25-2:55, Elementary curriculum leadership meeting 12:30-2:00
Tuesday- Grade 2 school show 1:30-2:05 @ PAC
Wednesday - 2nd grade chorus concert @ 7:00 - PAC
Friday - Elementary curriculum half day, 12:15 dismissal, staff meeting 1:00-1:45, team time

Great things I noticed last week:

  • 3rd graders in the library were eager to spend time reading their book choices. 
  • Mrs. Lanctot's 1st graders made a list of all of the things they love about 1st grade! 
  • Even though we had an early dismissal, global school play day was still a hit! 
  • We celebrated the 100th day of school!  
  • These kindergartners found me in the library and were proud to show me what they did not know 100 days ago! 

Check it out:
Check out this link.  It contains podcasts from the various 2017 Teachers of the Year where they share experiences that shaped them as educators, very inspirational!
When we return from break, it will almost be March!  I will share a post next week about the slice of life challenge that I did last March.  I will be preparing to participate again this year.  Anyone else up for the challenge of writing everyday in March?!  Check out this link here to read more about it:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

100 Books to Read!

Principal ponderings...

In honor of the 100th day of school coming up this week, I am going to give you 100 book recommendations this week!  I decided to try to make this task a little easier on myself by breaking it down into 4 different categories.  I have 25 picture book recommendations, 25 chapter book recommendations, 25 professional development book recommendations, and then 25 books for pleasure reading!  Some of these books I own and have read.  Some of these books I own and have not read.  Some of these books I have heard about and want to read.  Some of these books I have never heard about until I started researching for this blog post.

Here are 25 picture book recommendations to check out!

Here are 25 chapter book recommendations to check out!

Here are 25 professional development books to check out!

Here are 25 books for pleasure reading to check out!

Currently reading:
So considering I just shared 100 books to read...I guess I could have left this section blank.  But you know that's not possible for me!  I did manage to make a trip to a book store last week and bought some new books.  Some of them I listed above, but here are two that I did not include.  I read this picture book to my daughter for bedtime the other night and plan on bringing it in for 100th day if anyone wants me to come read to their class...
You just can't go wrong when gelato is in the title and the story is all about a summer in Italy...

Events this week:
Monday - Happy National School Counselor Week!  Maureen and Kristen...thank you for all you do everyday for all of our students!
Wednesday - Global School Play Day! Grade 2 chorus practice @ 2:20, Staff Meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - 100th Day of School! Grade 2 chorus practice @ 2:20, PTA Meeting @ 7:30
Friday - Liz and Melissa at SLT meeting from 8:30-11:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Melissa and I had a lot of fun Saturday morning attending EdCampMALeads.  This was a chance to come together and talk education with teachers and leaders across the state...always energizing! 
  • Nurse Natalie managed to step out of the nurse's office and teach wellness classes to kindergarteners.  She took time to teach them about properly washing their hands...definitely important with all of the sickness going around right now. 
  • Had fun working with 3rd graders to record book buzz commercials using the green screen and iPads. 

  • And Laura Taylor was not the only one how happens to be in the Stenhouse catalog.  Look who I found...Diane D on the cover of the online catalog!
Check it out:
There are just a few 100 pages on the internet that talk about ideas for the 100th day of school.  Here's just one:
Great post from Pernille Ripp about helping students self select books:
5 ways to make your math workshop awesome: